Courtesy of our official content providers The Draft Society, here we bring to you 5 EPL Players to Avoid this draft season! Check out our hints and tips on these over-valued players who we don’t think you should be drafting as high as their ADP may suggest. Essential reading to avoid misfiring during your Fantrax Draft this summer.
5 EPL Players to Avoid This Draft Season
As we’ve said above, these are Players to Avoid this pre-season! And if you’re after even more content to help with your pre-season draft, we recommend checking out The Fantrax Fantasy EPL Draft Kit!
Oleksandr Zinchenko | Arsenal | @CNFC82
22/23 Points: 189.25 (23rd best defender)
22/23 Points Per Start: 7.3 (26 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 115-125 (12 Team League: Late Round 10/Early Round 11)
Analysis: His impact as an inverted full back, building attack after attack from the midfield, was incredibly positive. But his defensive lapses did end up costing the Gunners in a few crucial moments of the season. Fantasy-wise, he was consistently one of the most overrated fantasy assets last season (taken in the 5th round in most drafts & rarely dropped despite his deficiencies). He only boasted a PPS of just over 7 & GPPS around 6, and suffered from a few injuries. In short, the Ukrainian should not be held in such high fantasy esteem. Other than a good game against Bournemouth early on, Zinchenko really failed to set the world on fire. His inflated value means he’ll be taken (likely around the 6th/7th round) well before he should – don’t be that manager.
Emi Buendia | Aston Villa | @CNFC82
22/23 Points: 236.5 (41st best midfielder)
22/23 Points Per Start: 8.5 (23 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: N/A (not worth drafting)
Analysis: It pains me to write this about such a fantasy legend but the truth hurts. Emi Buendia is all but finished as a fantasy asset. We all just need to forget about his previous exploits with Norwich City in which he ghosted for fun and realize that the version of the player that we’ve been pining for is never returning. Buendia has shown some glimpses and nicked a few attacking returns but the fantasy points have been few and far between. His 6.8 PPS is below that of Ryan Christie & Thomas Partey, both of whom are not worthy of a draft pick, so why should we waste a selection on the diminutive Argentine? Nostalgia only goes so far.
Ben Mee | Brentford | @tottiandor
22/23 Points: 347 (30th overall)
22/23 Points Per Start: 9.4 (37 starts)
23/24 Projected Points Per Start: 8.7 (27 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 85-95 (12 Team League: Round 8/9)
Analysis: This might be a controversial pick in the players to avoid section, but I have my reasons. When Ben Mee took over from a sacked Sean Dyche at the end of the 21/22 season to help Burnley avoid relegation, we all thought that the Burnley captain would start transitioning towards management roles soon. Well, something different happened, he signed for Brentford and had the season of his life! As mentioned before, he led the league in aerials won, finished third for blocked shots and ended up being the 30th-highest scorer in the game surpassing the likes of Jesus, Foden, Grealish, Mahrez and Gundogan for overall score. He also generated more WAR during the course of the season than Watkins, Paqueta, Estupinan and Rodri. All this from a player who had an ADP of 180, meaning that he was a last-round pick. It is not an exaggeration to say that he might have won some managers their leagues.
So why am I recommending fading him for the upcoming season? Mee currently has an ADP of 68, which shows that the community trusts that he can replicate his heroics from last season. Due to the calculated and continued absence of Ivan Toney this upcoming season and no replacement number being rumoured, playing the 4-3-3 formation would require either Schade, Wissa or KLP to continually play as a number nine and offer similar value in pinning defenses and dropping deep as Toney did. I do not expect this to be the case. While I still expect the 4-3-3 to feature, the signing of Nathan Collins, a huge upgrade over the departing Pontus Jansson, signals a plan to play the 3-CB set more often. In the 16 games when Ben Mee lined up as one of the CBs in a 3-CB set, his PPS dropped from 9.4 to 7.8 and his ghost points per start also dropped from 8.5 to 5.5. In the same data set, Pinnock’s PPS and gPPS show a slight uptick from his season totals, meaning that Mee’s production primarily came in the 4-3-3.
If you are like me and believe that the 5-3-2 will be more dominant in the early parts of the upcoming season, it is a very good reason to pass on Mee at his current ADP. While I do not expect new signing Collins to oust Mee from the starting lineup, it is worth noting that it is exactly what he did at Burnley after replacing Mee due to the latter’s injury, and he kept the CB spot for a while even after Mee recovered. One final piece of information that makes me question putting a lot a draft stock in Mee is the fact that in Collins, Brentford finally have a CB who they can trust in a 2-CB set (not Jansson previously) who is right-footed, as opposed to Mee and Pinnock, who are both left-footed. While Mee and Pinnock formed a formidable partnership, featuring a right-footer would open up previously untapped passing lanes to unlock defences with that killer long ball. All in all, I still think Mee will be a decent fantasy asset, but at the ADP he is currently going, that is a premium you should not pay for a player with such question marks around his production.
Andrew Robertson | Liverpool | @ateamofcarras
22/23 Points: 267.25 (10th best defender)
22/23 Points Per Start: 8.8 (29 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 44-66 – (12 Team League: Round 4-6)
Analysis: Boy did Robertson have a depressing season for fantasy purposes last year. He managed just 8.8 PPS after previously scoring a record high 13.5 PPS in 21/22. Now it wasn’t all bad; Robertson managed 10 starts with scores in doubles figures, but he was very hit-and-miss. Things get worse when you examine the difference in Robertson’s performance after the aforementioned formation switch in GW29. Prior to this, he managed a respectable 9.7 PPS (8.0 gPPS) in 21 starts, whereas afterward, it dropped to 6.8 PPS (6.3 gPPS) from 9 starts. Simply put, Robertson was no longer swashbuckling up the wings when Liverpool was in possession, but tucking in as a left-sided center-back while Trent moved into midfield. Clearly, this stifles his fantasy points production. As you can see from the chart above he clearly stands out in assists, key passes, and ACNCs for defenders, so any reduction to these areas will significantly reduce his fantasy value. The new signings Liverpool have made give us confidence that Klopp will stick with the new system for the coming season, so beware that Robertson will likely not be the player we once knew and he may even be usurped in that role too with rumors of Liverpool looking at an LCB signing.
Brennan Johnson | Nottingham Forest | @wrigavin
22/23 Points: 257.5 (17th best forward)
22/23 Points Per Start: 7.6 (33 starts)
Recommended Draft Pick: 110-120 (12 Team League: Round 9/10)
Analysis: This is a tricky one. Johnson would easily move from one to avoid to one to watch if he wasn’t the subject of a potential transfer saga with unknown ramifications. The pacy forward has been heavily linked with a move to Brentford, which could be a good thing for him to take the next step in his career but could also see him facing much stiffer competition for a place in the starting lineup — particularly once Ivan Toney’s ban is up. West Ham, Everton, and Aston Villa have also been reported as showing interest in the Welsh winger. The uncertainty around his future makes BJ an enigmatic figure for fantasy valuation.
Johnson was a mainstay in the Forest side in 22/23, appearing in all 38 games. However, the 22-year-old only started 3 of the last 7 matches under Steve Cooper. That’s probably not enough of a sample size to glean anything from but it is worth noting the forward’s similarly dreadful run to the rest of his teammates to close out the season. Johnson was instrumental in the 4-3 win over Southampton with two assists, but his 17 points in that match were preceded by scores of 6, 4, 1, 0 and -0.5 from his starts. Much like his teammate Awoniyi, Johnson is surprisingly much more reliant on goals and assists for his points than you’d expect for a player with his skill set.
Check out the Fantrax Fantasy EPL Draft Kit! And make sure you also check out the 23/24 Draft Kit from our official EPL content partners The Draft Society for Draft Rankings, Team Previews, Draft Strategy, Transfer Analysis, 23/24 Season Projections, and so much more!